How To Train Your English Shepherd Dog to Lay Down

Dog Situation

You have a young puppy that you would like to train to lay down on command. The puppy is healthy, has a basic understanding of “sit” command, and is comfortable with clicker training.

Dog Behaviors

The puppy is curious, eager to learn, and motivated by food treats. They may initially stand or sit when attempting to teach the “lay down” command, and will require guidance and patience from the trainer.

Trainer Recommendation

How To Train Your Dog to Lay Down

  1. Start from a Sit

    Begin in a quiet, distraction-free area with your puppy in a sitting position.

  2. Hold a treat

    Hold a treat in your hand, letting the puppy sniff it to gain their attention.

  3. Slowly lower the treat

    Slowly lower the treat to the ground, guiding your puppy’s head down with the treat.

  4. The puppy’s head follows the treat

    As the puppy’s head follows the treat, their body should naturally lower into a lying down position. If not, gently guide their body into the correct position.

  5. Click and reward

    As soon as the puppy lies down, click the clicker and reward them with the treat.

  6. Introduce a verbal command

    Introduce a verbal command, such as “down” or “lay,” while performing the above steps. Be consistent with the command you choose.

  7. Practice

    Practice this process multiple times daily, gradually increasing the distance between the treat and the ground until the puppy understands the command without needing the treat as a lure.

  8. Fade the reward

    Once the puppy is consistently laying down with the verbal command, gradually reduce the use of treats and introduce other forms of reinforcement like praise and affection.


By consistently practicing the “lay down” command with your puppy and using positive reinforcement, your puppy will learn to lay down on command. This will lead to a well-trained, obedient dog that responds to your commands, which can be particularly useful in situations where you need your dog to be calm or submissive. Additionally, teaching your puppy to lay down on command can help to establish a strong bond between you and your dog, as it fosters trust and communication.

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Tony Bierman, "How To Train Your English Shepherd Dog to Lay Down," OBTESA, Accessed June 18, 2024,